Kentucky Professional Development Framework Impact on Quality and Child Outcomes, 2006-2007 (ICPSR 26341)

Published: Dec 16, 2010

Principal Investigator(s):
Beth Rous, University of Kentucky. Human Development Institute; Jennifer Grisham Brown, University of Kentucky. Human Development Institute

Version V3

In 2000, the Kentucky General Assembly passed historic early childhood legislation (Kentucky's KIDS [Kentucky Invests in Developing Success] NOW Initiative) of which a component included the development of a seamless professional development system. The professional development system includes core content, articulation, credentials, scholarships and a training framework. This comprehensive professional development system, along with other initiative components in assuring maternal and child health, supporting families, enhancing early care and education, and establishing a support structure, have moved the field of early childhood care and education forward in the state and improved child and family outcomes.

This study was designed to build on the KIDS NOW Initiative by conducting research investigating the degree to which a statewide unified professional development system impacted the educational level of early care and education providers and subsequent classroom quality. It focused on three major predictors of professional development outcomes:

  1. Individual teacher characteristics, including learning readiness, education (level and type), training experience, attitudes towards training, personality (conscientiousness, self-efficacy), job satisfaction (perceptions of support)
  2. Characteristics of the program administrator, including administrator education and administrator support of professional development
  3. Characteristics of the teacher's work setting, including program administration, and policies and procedures, and classroom setting (Child Care, Head Start, or Public Preschool)

The impact of these three predictors was measured on two major outcomes: (a) professional development outcomes, as measured by job status, learning and transfer of learning, and (b) organizational outcomes, as measured by program quality, child outcomes and staff retention.

The research questions guiding this research were focused on determining the degree to which (1) a unified professional development framework initiated at the state level results in positive child outcomes, and (2) the educational level of early care and education providers enhances the quality of classroom environments. Specifically:

  • What components of a professional development framework are more effective in encouraging and supporting individuals to remain in early care and education settings?
  • What components of a professional development framework are more effective in supporting early care and education professionals in enhancing classroom quality and child outcomes?
  • Are there specific factors that impact early care and education professionals' ability to participate in professional development activities at various levels?
  • Does the level and intensity of professional development experiences impact classroom quality and child outcomes?
  • What personnel factors have the highest impact on quality classroom environments and child outcomes?
  • What is the interaction between the personnel, professional development, and program variables on classroom quality and child outcomes?

Rous, Beth, and Grisham Brown, Jennifer. Kentucky Professional Development Framework Impact on Quality and Child Outcomes, 2006-2007. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2010-12-16.

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United States Department of Health and Human Services. Administration for Children and Families. Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation (90YE0071)


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2006 -- 2007

2006-01-04 -- 2007-02-28

To answer the research questions, a quasi-experimental design was used with teacher educational experience (e.g., AA, BA) and classroom type (Head Start, Child Care, and Public Preschool) as the main variables for selecting participants. Within this design, the theoretical framework took into consideration administrator and organizational predictors; the level of incentives for participation in professional development components; and individual outcomes related to job status, learning and transfer of learning combined with organizational outcomes of program quality, child outcomes and staff retention.

stratified, purposive sample

Administrators, teachers and children in child care, Head Start and Pre-K programs in Kentucky



early childhood program

observational data

survey data

Four categories of variables were identified for inclusion in the study. Based on previous research and expert knowledge of early care and education systems in Kentucky, system, program, teacher and child level variables were used. The theoretical model for this study hypothesized that the level and intensity of participation in components of the Professional Development Framework in Kentucky by teachers and the support of administrators for this participation have an impact on teacher retention, program quality and child outcomes.

  • Teacher: Teacher Demographics; Education Level and Type; Amount and Type of Training Attended; PD Plan; Attitudes Towards Training; Learning Readiness; Personality; Self Efficacy; Perceptions of Organization and Job Satisfaction; Perceptions of Supervisor Support
  • System: Administrator Education; Administrator Support of Training and PD; Program Administration, Policies and Procedures, Program Supports (Wages, Benefits)
  • Program: Program Type; Children Served; Classroom Quality; Turnover Rate
  • Child: Child Demographics; Child Developmental Status

Of 645 programs contacted for participation, 227 agreed to participate for a response rate of 41.4 percent.

1. The Early Childhood Environmental Rating Scale, Revised Edition (ECERS-R) (Harms, Clifford, and Cryer, 1998)

2. The Early Language and Literacy Classroom Observation (ELLCO) (Smith and Dickinson, 2002)

3. The Head Start Family and Child Experiences Survey (FACES) battery. Specifically, the:

  • McCarthy Scales of Children's Abilities (McCarthy, 1972)
  • Story and Print Concepts (FACES, 2001)
  • Color Names and Counting (FACES, 2001)
  • Pre-LAS 2000 (Duncan and Avila, 2000)
  • Woodcock-Johnson-III, (Woodcock and Mather, 1990) and the
  • Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test-III (Dunn and Dunn,1997)

4. The Social Skills Rating System (SSRS) (Gresham and Elliot, 1990)

Please refer to the Professional Development Framework Research Collaborative Report for full descriptions of the measures used.



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